The land down under Oregon that is. Not the land where women glow and men plunder.
We were shutdown at work last week and I turned the unplanned vacation to my advantage and headed south to Redwood National and State Parks for a few days. My wife and I visited for a day on our honeymoon ten years ago but I hadn’t been back since. I tried to go a few years back but was halted by a nasty snowstorm followed by a nasty ice storm.
My original plans were to visit from Wednesday to Saturday, but I enjoyed myself so much that I extended the trip by a day. Sunday I meandered up the Oregon coast to Newport before finally crossing over to the higher speeds of I-5 and arrived home Sunday night to an enthusiastic welcome from the home crowd.
It was a splendid little trip and I came home relaxed and refreshed, hiking from sunrise to sunset in the forests of giants, watching deer and elk browse and play in the meadows, gingerly walking among the little creatures of the tidepools, watching harbor seals in the heavy surf.
These treehugger pictures were taken just before sunset on my last full day in the redwoods. It was pouring rain and I didn’t want to stop, but when a passing bigfoot offered to hold the camera I couldn’t resist. I wanted to retake the pictures in the morning since I made some mistakes but was cursed with a beautiful sunny day and the wrong light for what I wanted.
I had the camera set to ISO1600 (a fast speed) and yet the pictures still took 6 and 8 seconds. I was using a polarizer which didn’t help matters, but unfortunately it was so dark through the viewfinder that I didn’t get it turned just right to completely remove the reflections in the ferns. To make matters worse, my favorite pose is the top picture but by that time the rain had splattered the front of the lens but I didn’t realize it until it was too late.
Nevertheless, a fun end to a fun trip. I took a ton of pictures (I know, you’re surprised, right?) so look for the those in the coming weeks.
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!
King Richard in Shakespeare’s Richard III
Ellie had an upset stomach this past week which led to a rather unfortunate if prodigious emptying of her bowels in the living room. The vet suggested we switch her to a bland diet of rice and cooked meat (no bernaise sauce) for a few days and thankfully there have been no more incidents. Erring on the safe side, we isolated her to the easily-cleanable part of the basement while we were at work and at night while we slept. She didn’t mind the imposition while we were gone but our champion snuggler was not pleased about the loss of bed privileges at night.
The morning after she had to be encouraged to eat (a surer sign of the apocalypse than any four horsemen) but otherwise her appetite has been fine. Her energy level and spirits have also been high the whole time and today we started slowly working her regular food back into her diet. So far so good!
She was allowed to rejoin us in bed at night after a few days of no accidents and I’m happy to report that she now moves over when I come to bed at night. I can’t say if her banishment to solitary affected the change but regardless I’m no longer wishing for a king-sized bed.
Near Wahkeena Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, you can forget that old saw about finding north based on where the moss grows thickest. The moss grows thick everywhere but especially near the numerous mountain streams, such as this peaceful spot on the trail to Angel’s Rest.
We’ve completed a month of obedience training with Ellie at the Humane Society and have seen a marked improvement in her on-leash behavior. She’s still an excitable girl but her twice daily walks are much more manageable now. Her off-leash behavior is, well, she’s not going to be outside and off-leash anytime soon.
Indoors though she’s been fantastic and gets along well with the cats. Fortunately she’s sleeping on her bed in the basement at the moment, as Sam and Emma are asleep on her bed in my office with Scout a few feet above them in one of the warm beds. Ellie’s been so good with them that this week we’ve allowed her free roam of the house while we’re at work.
We’ve also started letting her up into our bed at night. Like me she’s a real snuggler, so that’s good, but I’m less pleased at the immovable black mass that occupies my spot when I come to bed at night. I naively assumed she’d move over when I climb in. She does not. Sam and Scout don’t always move either, but they also don’t weigh 80 pounds.
Ellie’s a black lab mix but we weren’t sure what makes up the non-lab part of the mix. After observing her for the past month, however, I can definitively state that she was mixed with 100% purebred stomach. After her early adventures with chocolate calcium chews, a tub of caramel, and a jar of dog treats, she has branched out into a block of cheese, potato chips, a batch of muffins my wife baked, a bag of noodles, and a variety of other snacks.
Oh, and some granola bars and breakfast bars in my backpack. Which were in a zipped compartment. She didn’t chew her way in but instead seems to have worked the zippers. Zippers. Zippers!
Today’s picture is in honor of the tufted duck that has been spotted recently in Portland, similar to our native scaup but normally found on the other side of the Pacific. This is not the duck that came down the wrong flyway but a male I photographed in Tokyo’s Ueno Park on a business trip almost four years ago. I picked up my Canon 20D right before that trip so it’s about to turn four as well.
He was resting in still waters and opened his bright yellow eyes for just a moment to gauge my intentions. This is not only my favorite tufted duck picture but one of my favorite duck pictures. I arrived early when the park was quiet but as the city woke up the park filled with people and was not nearly as serene as the picture might suggest.